Uber is preparing to launch in several Southeast Asian cities over the next few weeks, said its head of Asian expansion in an interview last week. The well-funded startup’s decision to focus there is a sign of the many opportunities for consumer mobile startups in Southeast Asia. Not only are there high mobile penetration rates throughout the region, but also a growing base of affluent customers with a taste for luxury products, a bracket Uber wants to position itself in.
Uber officially launched in Kuala Lumpur last week. This week it will launch in yet another Southeast Asian city, Uber’s head of Asia operations, Allen Penn, told me. Although the location hasn’t been announced, the company recently started deploying “secret Ubers” in Manila and is seeking a general manager for the capital of the Philippines. It’s also looking for someone to fill the same position in Bangkok.
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